It is with mixed emotions that we announce our new scholarship, the Bob Desjarlais Memorial Scholarship.  This is a bittersweet moment for all of us.

The scholarship will be an annual $750 prize for SEIU-West members, in addition to the ongoing ten scholarships for members and ten scholarships for children of members.

This scholarship is intended to honor the characteristics that we miss so much about our Staff Rep, Negotiator, and friend, Bob Desjarlais. The successful applicant will be someone who has their co-workers' backs, dedicates their time to fellow union members by being an ally, supports, encourages and defends…in other words, someone who embodies the definition of solidarity.

Applicants must be pursuing an educational program deemed acceptable by the SEIU-West Scholarship Committee.  In order to qualify, please read about who Bob was and then send the SEIU-West Education Committee an email, care of Alicia Zerr, describing how you, or someone you wish to nominate,  supports your/their co-workers to make the workplace and community a better place. Please include the funniest clean joke you know. Bob was a funny guy. Please also fill out this paper form and return it to an SEIU-West office or complete the form online.

Deadline to apply is November 15th, yearly.

Robert James Desjarlais       

December 29, 1954 – March 10, 2021

Bob began his role at SEIU-West on September 6, 2011 and it very quickly became abundantly clear to all of us that Bob had two settings – laughing hysterically at his own jokes, or steamrolling anything interfering with someone’s well-being.  I say “role” rather than “job” because for Bob, this was never a job, it was a calling.  He had a role to play and it went well beyond office hours and members and employers.  He had one focus, and one only – solidarity.  And every available opportunity was spent advancing that cause.  For Bob, solidarity wasn’t only about trade unionism.  Solidarity is what the family needed, what co-workers needed, what the curling rink needed, and really what the world needed. 

Bob was truly a hero of the working class.  He dedicated his career, maybe his life, to workers.  But his greatest love was his family.  He was the father of three sons and a daughter, Kris, Steve, Pat, and Addison.  He was the most loving husband to Christie, albeit the husband with the most god-awful ugly golf pants. 

Bob was the consummate co-worker and direct report.  Anything that needed doing, he was good for it.  He didn’t even need to be prepped – he was BORN fighting.  His moral compass was second to none and he made sure everyone else’s got adjusted accordingly.

Bob loved us all and we loved him.  He will always be one of us, and we will forever miss him.


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